In Fall of 2017, I was required to take part in a political activism parade, called the Festival of the Flags for my sculpture class. My grade requirements included sewing a flag commenting on political topics, and walking with the entire parade group through campus. Not being a huge activist in politics, it was difficult for me to push myself to participate. So, I decided to sew something I liked that could count for the liberal-focused march. I made a 3.3 ft x 2.4 ft flag of Mario. The color matching of the original 8-bit character is not exact, so I worked with what materials had been provided. My twist on the subject matter was primarily about immigration, and culture appropriation. Mario is a Japanese created, Italian man, from Brooklyn, living in the Mushroom Kingdom. I might have gotten away with that as a subject matter, but it didn't quite help when Mario stuck out like a sore thumb when I carried him through the parade, surrounded by flags showcasing abortion, sexual harassment, lynching and black rights, etc. The procession carried the same name as the Nov. 2nd, 1968 parade created by Helio Oiticica, in response to the Brazilian dictatorship assassination of Manuel Moreira, his collaborator and lover. It's primary focus was a rebuttal of the 2016 election. I myself was not comfortable taking part in the parade, politics aside and having been asked regardless by my instructor, thus my spin on the required assignment. To create the flag, I projected an image of Mario on the wall, traced the image onto fabric pieces, and then used a sewing machine to stitch them together. Big thank you to Lori Slone for showing me how to use a sewing machine and assistance!
Special thanks to Austin Vesely for photography assistance! Follow him @austin_tilt_mode_vesely